Imagine a world where you can create anything you want, just by pressing a ‘print’ button or icon. What would you print? Would you, like me, print food all day long? Or would you print money?
3D printing (or additive manufacturing) is the technology that uses various process to create three-dimensional objects. The entire process is computer-controlled.
So far, objects that have been printed range from door handles and iPhone cases to plastic gun parts. This development, for now, is a grey area. I came across this video on YouTube that explains a lot about the technology.
In the video, you will see how an ear was printed (0:52). This is a product of bio-printing, a form of 3D printing where biological bodies are printed. One phenomenon was when the doctor being interviewed in the video presented a 3D-printed kidney. Hopefully, some time soon, patients won’t have to be put on long waiting lists to get heart, lung or kidney transplants.
The flip side though, comes at the latter part of the video (9:35). There you will see a young man who leads a group trying to create digital weapons: Wiki Guns. He is able to print plastic parts of a gun, which fires up to eleven rounds. For him, what matters most is not to be the first person to be able to print guns, but the ability to “just be able to do it.”
It’s both fascinating and scary what this could become. The next big question should be, how will it be controlled? What happens when people start printing dangerous objects just because they feel like? Who will control them then?